The No. 10 Virginia Cavaliers defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies 78-68 Wednesday night in Charlottesville. It was Virginia Tech’s sixth consecutive loss, and the Hokies now sit at 11-7 on the season with a 1-6 mark in ACC play.
The Cavaliers jumped on the Hokies early, opening up with a 10-2 lead. The Hokies slowly began to claw back into the game as UVA went into one of its patented cold spells on the offensive end.
Down 19-10 with 12:41 remaining in the first half, the Hokies ripped off 11 consecutive points to take a 21-19 lead over the next five minutes. The teams would trade buckets over the next few minutes before Virginia would finish the half by going on a 14-5 run over the last four minutes to go into halftime with a 40-31 lead.
That run proved to decide the game.
The Hokies would battle in the second half, narrowing the score to 51-49 after a Grant Basile layup. The Hoos answered, scoring the next points to rebuild their lead. After a Justyn Mutts’ dunk to cut the score to 59-55, Virginia scored the next nine points and that lead proved to be insurmountable.
This game featured the return of senior guard Hunter Cattoor. Cattoor played 34 minutes and finished with 11 points, six rebounds and five assists. Five Hokies scored in double figures led by Darius Maddox, who scored 13 points.
Virginia Tech leading scorer Sean Pedulla scored only 10 points as UVA guard Kihei Clark played terrific defense on Pedulla.
Both teams shot the ball well, with the Hokies shooting 49% from the field and made 12 of 27 from 3-point range. Virginia shot 51% from the field. The Hokies only went to the free-throw line twice, making both attempts.
In more bad news, it was revealed freshman guard Rodney Rice, who made his collegiate debut last week, was lost for the foreseeable future with a broken finger on his shooting hand. This is a tough break for Rice, who worked so hard to get back.
This was a must-win for the Hokies, who feel a long way from their 11-1 start. The hope is Cattoor’s return will help Virginia Tech over the rest of what will be a tough stretch. Tech is back on the road Saturday against No. 19 Clemson, before retuning to Blacksburg to host Duke on Monday.